Taking the high road

How Elizabeth Warren is shrewdly turning the tables on President Trump’s bullying

Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

President Trump seems to enjoy taunting U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts over claims she has made about hailing from Native American ancestry. In November of last year, he referred to her as “Pocahontas” — which is regarded as a pejorative slur — during an event honoring Native American veterans. He used the term again at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday night. So on Sunday morning, as the Cut reports, Warren pledged to use Trump’s bullying as an opportunity to “lift up” the story of Native Americans.

During an interview with Jim Acosta of CNN’s State of the Union, Warren referred to a meeting last month with Native American leaders. I made a promise to them, that every time President Trump wants to try to throw out some kind of racial slur, he wants to try to attack me, I’m going to try to use it as a chance to lift up their stories,” she said. “I’m going to do that right now by pointing out that more than half of Native women in this country have been the victims of sexual violence, and more than half of them are attacked by non-natives. And the American government is doing nothing about this.”

It is true that Native American women face staggeringly high rates of violence. According to the Indian Law Resource Center, “more than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence, and more than 1 in 2 have experienced sexual violence.” Many of these violent crimes (88 percent) are perpetrated by non-Indians. But all too often, little is done to protect Native women and bring their abusers to justice. Between 2005 and 2009, the Indian Law Resource Center reports, “U.S. attorneys declined to prosecute 67 percent of the Indian country matters referred to them involving sexual abuse and related matters. Even grimmer, due to the lack of law enforcement, many of these crimes in Native communities are not even investigated.”

Warren, who has said that her mother is part Native American, has declined to take a DNA test to quell doubts about her ancestry. During an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, which also aired on Sunday, she reiterated that she would not take a test and emphasized once again that the real issue at hand is not her heritage, but the safety of Native American populations.

“This is a group that is being injured every single day,” Warren said, according to The New York Post. “We need to bring some attention to it and we need to put some resources on it.”

Read the full story at The Cut.


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